“ Brand: Serge Lutens / Type: Fragrance / Concentration: Eau de Parfum „
Group: Oritental spicy
It's always a pleasure to discover a scent from niche house Serge Lutens praised for their scrumptious oriental creations for men and women and I just couldn't pass up Rousse, another oriental offering based around cinnamon when I spotted a generous lot of 20 samples of it on eBay.
I find the beige label and the tall, rectangular bottles - standard across the 50ml perfume line - sleek, functional and chic in a niche way where the substance over image is the accepted modus operandi. The juice is a dark, reddish brown colour evoking rich, woody and ambery raw materials.
Top notes: orange, resins
Straight up, Rousse - meaning red or ginger and inspired by the colour of freshly peeled cinnamon bark - delights the senses with an impressive waft of fresh cinnamon bark note that's dry, spicy, sharp and almost non-sweet. It's not so much the scent of dried cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon from your kitchen cupboard, but a woodier and sharper cinnamon bark or ground cinnamon paste aroma. Within minutes, the cinnamon gets deeper and mingles in with resins and a hint of bitter orange peel making the spice feel softer and more rounded.
Middle notes: cinnamon, cedarwood and clove
About an hour later, the spicy, rough cinnamon edge is still the most dominant however by no means this means potpourri, Rousse is definitely a 'perfumey' creation that is now increasingly woody due to the presence of cedarwood that grounds the accord and anchors the cinnamon.
The main theme of the fragrance running through the middle is a dark, woody cinnamon bark note that's spicy rather than gourmand and naturally aromatic rather than foodie. Backed up by cedarwood and later benzoin-rich amber the heart is noticeable well up to 6 hours however it only has a modest projection and is somewhat linear.
Base notes: musk, amber and vanilla
As most of the cinnamon goes after about 8 hours of wear what's left is a lovely and soft, barely sweet amber with a touch of spice. There's no distinct vanilla to my nose and to be honest, I don't miss it here. There's also musk in the air and a surprising soapiness that I attribute to the musk. The use of musk gives the resinous and dark raw materials a lighter and more transparent feel. This is also my problem with it as I'd rather prefer the cinnamon and amber duo rather than soapy musk that lingers close to the skin and clothing in the final couple of hours.
Unusual and not for everybody, Rousse is definitely for cinnamon lovers. Not cinnamon and sugar or cinnamon bun but raw and aromatic cinnamon that lasts and lasts. The cinnamon leads the theme for hours and hours even when it blends in with woody and ambery elements it's still detectable and delectable. I admire the idea of natural, non-sweet cinnamon in a fragrance that manages to stay rounded without resorting to sweetness and sugar and at the same time isn't too strict or masculine either. My only regret is that Rousse behaves somewhat as a skin scent and holding back on its sillage but that's because it's a shared fragrance.
In summary, if you're into high quality raw materials and ingenious, quirky niche perfumery I heartily recommend Rousse for ladies and gents. A lot less sweet then Arabie, Chergui or Ambre Sultan, Rousse is a fragrance of two facets: one edgy, sharp and woody and the other warm, aromatic and cozy. The restrained sweetness especially makes Rousse suitable for men however I do think the withheld sillage is a downside for ladies who like me prefer their oriental opulent and rich. A plus point is that like many Serge Lutens' creations, Rousse lends itself to layering and will go well with rose or white florals as well as ambery and woody fragrances.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The RRP is £69 / 50ml Eau de Parfum at department stores and online stores such as fascination-perfumery.co.uk but does turn up on eBay from time to time for less. I would buy a full bottle if I could afford it right now.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk